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NYT: Lazio Endorsed by Conservative Party

March 21, 2010

Another interesting turn of events:

A divided group of New York State Conservative Party leaders voted Saturday to throw the party’s support behind Rick A. Lazio, giving the former congressman’s troubled campaign for governor a boost as it struggles to hang on to Republican support.

The 14-5 vote, while not binding, strengthens Mr. Lazio’s position as he fights off a challenge from Steve Levy, the Suffolk County executive and a Democrat who said Friday that he was switching parties to seek the Republican nomination.

Mr. Lazio, who made an appearance at Conservative Party headquarters in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, just minutes after the vote was taken, used the endorsement of the small but influential party to rebut the perception that his campaign was faltering.

“Today was a huge step forward,” he said. “This great party, the Conservative Party, which has been a decisive factor for every Republican statewide win since this party was founded, is absolutely essential. It makes me feel great, honestly, to have the support of leaders like this.”

Asked whether Mr. Levy’s entrance into the race unsettled him, Mr. Lazio responded, “I am not worried about him.”

Mr. Levy’s campaign sought to play down the significance of the vote, which it characterized as nothing more than a nonbinding recommendation from the party’s executive committee.

“This was merely an unweighted recommendation and has little meaning until a designee is officially chosen at the convention in June,” the Levy campaign said in a statement. “We anticipate major defections, as was the case with the Republican Party.”

Though most of the Conservative Party leaders at Saturday’s meeting were solidly behind Mr. Lazio, there was spirited dissent in the room before the vote was taken. And as Mr. Lazio walked in, a group that was loyal to Mr. Levy walked out.

“This means absolutely nothing,” said Bill Newmark, chairman of the Bronx Conservative Party, declaring that party delegates, and not the executive committee, have the final say. “The executive committee of the party cannot nominate our candidate.”

Michael R. Long, the longtime Conservative Party chairman, acknowledged that the campaign for the Republican and Conservative nominations was likely to be long, but he insisted that Mr. Lazio would ultimately have his party’s backing.

“I know this won’t end today,” Mr. Long said. “But we’re in position now to support Rick Lazio for governor of the state of New York.”

Mr. Long has complained that Mr. Levy’s sudden conversion to the Republican Party seemed suspect, and that he doubted the county executive’s conservative credentials. Talking up Mr. Lazio’s campaign, Mr. Long said, “He’s a bona fide Republican; he’s a real Republican.”

Mr. Levy’s entrance into the governor’s race last week upset what had been shaping up to be a sleepy campaign for the Republican nomination. Mr. Lazio, who until Friday was the only declared Republican candidate, has been campaigning for nearly a year. Most Republicans had believed he would be their nominee.

The Republican Party now finds itself split over where to direct its endorsements and financial support. Mr. Lazio, who as of January had barely $640,000 in his campaign account, has the backing of prominent Republicans like former Gov. George E. Pataki and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. Many of the party’s county chairmen have also endorsed him.

But Mr. Levy’s decision to abandon the Democratic Party has energized many Republicans, who had grown pessimistic about their chances of retaking the governor’s office with Mr. Lazio as their candidate.

Mr. Levy, while largely an unknown quantity outside Long Island, has a sharp tongue and a spirited demeanor, and many Republicans say that he could make for a formidable opponent on the stump against Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, the presumptive Democratic nominee. Mr. Levy also has more than $4.1 million on hand and has attracted the attention of prominent national Republican political consultants and donors. He plans to hold fund-raising events in Manhattan, the Hamptons and Palm Beach, Fla., in the coming weeks.

And leaders of some of the state’s largest Republican county organizations have been defecting to Mr. Levy’s campaign in growing numbers since he declared, loosening Mr. Lazio’s once-firm grip on the nomination. Whether Mr. Levy can secure a place on the ballot is largely up to the Republican county organizations, which will send delegates to that party’s nominating convention in June.

Because Mr. Levy’s party switch will not take effect until after the November election, he must receive the support of more than 50 percent of the delegates. Mr. Lazio, as a registered Republican, needs more than 25 percent to get on the ballot.



  1. Young Republican permalink
    March 21, 2010 1:12 pm

    Just to be clear, Lazio does not yet have the Conservative Party’s line for the November election. Who gets the party’s line will be decided at the Conservative Party Convention in June by the entire State Committee. The vote yesterday was the executive committee’s recommendation to the state committee, but they don’t have to take it.

    The GOP shouldn’t let the Conservative Party bully us around. The GOP’s objective is to get a candidate that can win and that can put an end to all the crap going on in Albany. The Conservative Party’s objective is to get a candidate that can get over 50,000 votes so they can keep their automatic access to the ballot for the next four years. Don’t let them intimidate our party in to choosing a candidate that will end up being a disaster.

  2. Joe Nardiello permalink
    March 21, 2010 2:13 pm

    “Don’t let them intimidate our party in to choosing a candidate that will end up being a disaster.”

    Do you understand that of today — there’s NO candidate for the Democratic party for Gov? that means, that Levy is AFRAID of Andrew Cuomo’s shadow.

    …Lazio is an actual Republican that now has support among Republicans, has visited Brooklyn, and has suffered the slings/arrows as a Republican across this State and vs. Hillary across now 2 campaigns that were abandoned, essentially by Rudy Giuliani. We’ve heard from Lazio and Collins, and there may be other candidates for all we know. Calling Lazio a “disaster” is terribly wrong. It’s odd to come onto this website and read about support for a Democrat, this blindly, for the most important NY office.

    • Young Republican permalink
      March 21, 2010 5:15 pm

      You make a good point about Cuomo not being in the race. There is no democratic candidate, and Lazio is still losing every poll, can’t raise nearly enough money to run a state wide campaign that can win, and his campaign after an entire year has no momentum.

      Yes he is a loyal republican, he has held our party’s banner in 2000 and he has been out there for the last year, but is that enough to let Cuomo take our dear state down the path to hell? My objective is to get a candidate that can win and that will turn around Albany, stand up to big labor and other special interest groups, cut spending, lower taxes, balance our budget, and make government work better for all of us. Levy has a record of doing that. I can’t say the same thing about Lazio. He is a wonderful guy and all, but I’m not prepared yet too give up on New York, just because Lazio has been out there for our party. Let’s think about New York first, and our party second.

  3. HG-WT, Wire Paladin permalink
    March 21, 2010 3:10 pm

    To paraphrase our earlier posting of March 19,2010:

    Lazio, we don’t need no stinkin’ Rick Lazio!!! Levy, we don’t need no stinkin’ Steve Levy!!! We soon will have Carl Paladino as a worthy Republican dark horse.

    Let the Eaton crowd stick with Lazio or stab him in the back, who really cares? What difference will it make if tany fight over State Committee votes at the state convention?

    Already, some of us have discussed how a Carl Paladino’s statewide petitioning drive will fit in nicely with the local petitioning efforts of several independent Republican candidacies for assembly and state senate in various Brooklyn districts.

    Please note the following:

    “BUFFALO, N.Y. – Western New York developer Carl Paladino will officially announce his candidacy for New York State Governor on April 5th.
    A source tells Two On Your Side, the announcement will take place in Buffalo.
    Paladino had been asked to run for Governor by members of the Western New York Tea Party.
    Paladino has also hired Michael Caputo as a campaign consultant. Caputo previously served as a campaign aide to President George H.W. Bush.” WGRZ from:,NY/Carl Paladino to Run For New York Governor

    HG-WT, WP

  4. Powers--- Albany Powers, Baby! permalink
    March 21, 2010 6:50 pm

    This is so cooooool…. it’s hack-a-licious, Baby !

    From: “The New York Observer” —- PolitickerNY
    “There’s Always the Tea Party” by Azi Paybarah /March 19, 2010

    Azi says, “ Buffalo real estate developer Carl Paladino is making it clear that this is going to be a three-way Republican gubernatorial primary, with Paladino going up against Republican Rick Lazio and Democrat-turned-Republican Steve Levy.”

    But here’s the rub, according to NYO PolitickerNY-guy, “… [N]o Republican really has a shot of winning statewide office without the support of–and ballot from–the Conservative Party. That group is meeting tomorrow and may make an endorsement. The leading candidate to get the Conservative line is Lazio, who has the backing of Conservative State Party Chairman Mike Long. Republicans leaders are backing Levy, but Long doesn’t approve of that.” (What else is new?)
    Here’s where it gets good — “Paladino’s campaign manager, Michael Caputo, told me his candidate is the only true fiscal–and social–conservative in the race. If Conservatives back Lazio, Paladino’s aide said they’ll have no choice but to petition to create the Tea Party ballot line. (Of course, in addition to running as a Republican and, hopefully, winning the Republican Primary.)
    Azi Paybarah closes with some provocative quotes by Mr. Caputo, “Let’s face it, if the Conservative Party endorsed Lazio, we really don’t have a choice, other than to create a Tea Party line… Because, historically, Republican gubernatorial candidates have not been elected without the Conservative Party endorsement. But in order to change history, we have to form a whole different option.”

    The Mimi-Me Conservatives can just— Stick it, Baby!

    March 22, 2010 11:56 am



    March 20, 2010

    Carl Paladino is deeply disappointed in the Conservative Party for not having the courtesy to allow us to compete in what turns out not to be a democratic process.

    It’s a shame that a personality conflict between Ed Cox and Mike Long has forced the Conservative Party to choose a weak candidate who’s a certain loser and who doesn’t support key tenets of the Party platform.

    Today’s endorsement of pro-abortion banking lobbyist Rick Lazio for governor may mean the end of the Conservative Party. The Paladino campaign is moving ahead to aggressively petition the Tea Party onto the general election ballot.

    Take this prediction to the bank: Carl Paladino will win the Republican primary nomination for governor, and the Tea Party that endorses him will outpoll the Conservative Party in November.

  6. Joe Nardiello permalink
    March 22, 2010 3:37 pm

    ha! so much for my name being right besides Jonathan?

    I come in here, to see what’s new as far as elections, yesterday’s historic vote (like it or not) and to review posts on this one comment string relative to the Gov. election — being I’d posted yesterday — and there went my name from your Category Cloud! ouch

    • Nick permalink
      March 22, 2010 4:06 pm

      Because you never have nor ever will matter Joe.
      You are a non-entity unto yourself.

      • Young Republican permalink
        March 22, 2010 5:18 pm

        Nick are you sure your on the right blog? The reason I come here is too discus issues important to our party, city and state. It’s a place I can have respectful disagreements, a place I can try to persuade others, and a place I can be persuaded by others. If you disagree with someone you can still be civil about it. You can debate them, you can run against them, but this is no place to let your childhood troubles out on others. Perhaps you can find some hateful democratic blog where you call people names or attack people’s personality. On this blog, if you have nothing smart to say then you might as well shut the —- up.

  7. Nick permalink
    March 22, 2010 5:47 pm

    Young Republican
    Is that fence post comfortably embedded in your a$$?

    • Nick 2 permalink
      March 22, 2010 6:51 pm

      Young Republican, you appear to imply that on this blog, there is absolute civility, no name calling or attackes, but 90% of the posts on this Blog do just the opposite. But I agree that this Blog would be great if people were civil, did not call others names or attack people outside of their political roles.

  8. Powers--- Albany Powers, Baby! permalink
    March 22, 2010 7:04 pm

    Man, this is more than cooooool…. it’s hack-a-licious versus wack-a-licious!!!

    I just can’t tell who is which, Baby.

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